In an age of social media communication and emerging technologies, reputation management means brands need to pay close attention to their customers and important constituents. You’re constantly shaping the perceptions and opinions about your organization and its products. How has reputation management changed? You’re required to increase your monitoring intelligence to understand the public and their concerns and engage purposefully through new channels to maintain and protect your reputation from damage.
Years ago, if you were responsible for reputation management, you had an advantage. However, you may not have realized it at the time. You typically had 24 hours to get your statements and your executives prepared and in front of the right media. Of course, no one felt the “comfort" of the news cycle then, and certainly not now. Today, the news cycle is by the minute, and many professionals are finding it harder to keep up with the headlines via social media and digital news.
Obviously, the question of “Why monitor?” is no longer asked. You now have to evaluate how much surveillance is enough for your brand. You want the best practices in place for a couple of reasons; to keep your customers happy and to quickly communicate when issues arise. Timeliness means proactive and responsive engagement with the public because you’re armed with the right monitoring resources.
Here are five reasons you may want to consider as you’re evaluating your monitoring program.
#1. Monitoring is for every company. I’ve heard professionals say that monitoring software is for enterprise- sized companies who can afford robust software solutions. Monitoring works to protect your brand and it's not just large corporations anymore. There are affordable platforms that businesses of all sizes can use to their advantage. These companies have to determine what makes sense for their communications program, the resources they have available and what they can afford. Smaller companies may require software platforms that give more flexibility with price and scope of the software. Ultimately, you need to view a comprehensive marketing solution as an investment in reputation management.
#2. Monitoring requires coordination and internal resources. Although, many companies are challenged with having limited resources and bandwidth to monitor real-time social conversations and mainstream media, it is important to have a dedicated professional who can monitor, share and coordinate information internally. Yes, sometimes monitoring does require a team, depending on the size of your company, the scope of your campaigns and the number of social media accounts. However, paired with a monitoring tool that can allow real-time alerts to flag issues immediately, you’re more likely to catch and address what could be potentially damaging to your brand.
#3. Monitoring goes beyond alerts. Having a system in place to send out signals when an issue has surfaced is an important part of your approach. But, it’s the constant monitoring and analysis of relevant data that tells you so much more. When you monitor the online chatter about your brand, your industry and your competitors, you’re taking the pulse of how your customers and other stakeholders are feeling. You’re also taking steps to significantly improve your conversations and engagement with relevant groups and accelerate your brand building. You'll learn how to interact on a deeper level, catch issues that may quickly arise, communicate more efficiently, and, ultimately, make smarter decisions for your business.
#4. Monitoring may not stop an issue from starting, but it can help you stop momentum. Issues pop up and crisis can strike at any time, playing out within minutes through social media. Monitoring your communication may not stop tragic occurrences, acts of nature, or the initial spreading of misinformation from starting in the first place. But, monitoring can help you to get your messages out more quickly to the right people before causing additional harm or damaging communication.
#5. Monitoring helps uncover the influencers. Monitoring allows you to find and engage with industry leaders, innovative thinkers, and influencers in social media communities. These individuals are driving meaningful conversations and engaging your customers. Numbers don’t necessarily reflect influence; the size of influencer networks doesn’t determine their impact. They are people, with communities of all sizes, who say or do something that instantly creates action. They get other community members to rise up, speak out, try, purchase or change opinions. Your brand’s influencers are out there, and monitoring helps you to identify and build relationships with them. Finding and engaging with these people means enlisting champions who will stand up for your brand and protect your reputation.
As you watch the news unfold every day, you witness how any company, brand, or executive can experience issues that are damaging to their reputation, and in many cases their bottom line. Whether you have a small program in place with simple alerts, are considering investing in a new tool or have a more powerful software platform, keep in mind these considerations. Being in communications and business today means always digging deeper and pulling the data intelligence that will maintain your reputation and help your company succeed.
Deirdre Breakenridgeis CEO ofPure Performance Communications. She is an international speaker and trainer,podcaster,LinkedIn Learninginstructor and an adjunct professor and online instructor at UMass Amherst and Rutgers University. Her most recent book,Answers for Modern Communicators, A Business Guide to Communication, will be published by Routledge in October 2017.
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